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Last year, the Village Shops at Kingsmill Shopping Center were mostly vacant and there were plans to renovate a couple buildings and even add a pedestrian plaza and drive-thru lane to make it more appealing for new businesses.
But plans have changed.
Now, the shopping center might become an apartment community — for seniors.
Earl Anderson from the York County Planning Commission said the office received a zoning application for independent living senior apartments on Dec. 2.
One-hundred fifty apartments, to be exact.
The shopping center, 1915 Pocahontas Trail, is approximately 8.22 acres and the applicant, Marlyn Development Corporation, wants to re-zone 7.5 acres of the property from general business use to planned development residential.
According to the re-zoning application, the applicant, Marlyn Development Corporation, currently owns another senior living facility, The Arbors at Towne Park.
The applicant could have chosen between mixed-use or residential development.
“It’s a district which allows a little more flexibility in the development,” Anderson said, adding PDR helps reduce the consumption of land, allows for open or recreational space, encourages creativity and enhances York County.
“They’re pretty much committing to the plan with that property,” he added.
Anderson said the project affects everything to the right of Wendy’s, off Route 60 and adjacent to the shopping center.
The new apartment community would be a minimum of 25,000 square feet with a four-story brick veneer apartment building and premium vinyl siding, a recreation area, hair salon, media room, game room, exercise room, a community room and other common areas, according to the application’s project narrative page.
“Additional recreational amenities will include a courtyard, sitting areas, raised garden beds, a grilling station, a dog park and sidewalks surrounding the building,” the applicant stated.
The applicant also wants a 50-perimeter setback and a buffer between the property and the nearby Wendy’s in the form of the recreational features such as the dog park, community garden and other apartment amenities.
Other property buffers include landscape and yard work as well as several “transitional buffers”.
The owner plans to hire a manager, leasing assistant, housekeeper, maintenance technician and activities coordinator with an “activities van” for various outings such as appointments and trips to the grocery store, according to the application.
An employee will be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In regards to impacting the county’s emergency services, the applicant said its future residents will come from York County and traditional housing and may even live alone in a “unmonitored environment which produces higher and more serious EMS demands”.
The facility will have an emergency pull cord system monitored by “third party emergency monitoring system” to reduce the number of emergency calls.
“An important distinction from other senior housing facilities is that the facility is truly an independent living facility and does not offer any services such as nursing care, meals laundry, housekeeping of individual units, etc.” the applicant stated. “Accordingly, the facility’s residents are active adults and do not tend to place disproportionately higher demand on the locality’s EMS system.”
So what happened to the plan to renovate the shopping center?
Jim Noel from the county’s economic development office said the Village Shops is under contract and Maryln Development has proposed to buy the land from Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation of New York.
When asked what happened to the Market Realty Group LLC, a developer who proposed changing revamping the shopping center in Nov. 2018, Noel said “they basically let it go”.
“I don’t really know,” he said of the financial relationship between the Ameritas and Maryln Development.
As of April 2016, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. et al currently owns the parcel, according to the county’s property information website.
Timothy Trant II, an attorney from Kaufman & Canoles P.C., reprsents the Marlyn Development Corporation. Lauren K. Pugliese is the second vice president of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp and Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation of New York and represents the owner.
Trant and the owner were not immediately available to comment for this story.
The planning commission will review the application on Feb. 12.